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North Carolina's first independent station, WCTU, was signed on July 9, 1967.
In 1971, Ted Turner's Turner Broadcasting System purchased WCTU and renamed it WRET which stood for his full name: Robert Edward Turner.
On July 1, 1978, WRET-TV joined NBC when former affiliate WSOC-TV switched to ABC. Turner had committed into investing $2.5 million for station improvements.
In early 1980, Westinghouse Broadcasting acquired WRET for $20 million — then the largest station sale at that time — so that Ted Turner could finance CNN, and changed its call letters on October 13 of that year to WPCQ standing for "People, the Carolinas, the Queen City". The station rebranded as Q36 to coincide with the callsign change.
From 1981 to 1985, WPCQ used the distinctive Group W typeface.
WCNC joined Gannett in 2013 with that company's acquisition of Belo. WCNC revealed a new logo on July 31, 2014, as well as adopting Gannett's corporate graphics. The station reverted back to its call letters, but they are used alongside the name "NBC Charlotte".